The board of Air Zimbabwe (UM, Harare Int'l) is considering establishing a NewCo to house a potential fleet of B777s sources have told Zimbabwe's Financial Gazette newspaper.

Given that the state-owned airline is mired in legacy debts totaling over USD300 million, the board has looked at using the new airline, dubbed Zimbabwe Airways, as a means of protecting its assets from creditors, the sources said.

According to the report, progress has been made in sourcing at least four B777s - presumably B777-200(ER)s - from an undisclosed supplier. It is uncertain whether the aircraft will be leased or bought outright. The comes after attempts to source B787s from an unspecified Malaysian firm fell through. Minister of Transport, Joram Gumbo, told the newspaper that he had accompanied Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on a trip to Malaysia in 2016 ostensibly to view the aircraft. However, the deal fell through when the two parties "could not agree on certain issues".

Critics have questioned why the carrier is looking to add widebody aircraft at a time it has been unable to service debts owed to firms at London Gatwick in the United Kingdom (UK). Airline management has repeatedly touted the "imminent" resumption of direct Harare Int'l-London Gatwick flights, seen as a potential cash cow given the sizeable Zimbabwean diaspora currently living in the UK. However, their launch has been hampered by outstanding claims by firms which include Algerian air navigation service provider ENNA, Pan African air navigation provider ASECNA, China's National Aero-Technology Import and Export Corporation (CATIC), Aero Industrial Sales, and American General Supplies.

Air Zimbabwe currently operates one A320-200, two B737-200Advs, two B767-200(ER)s (of which only one is active), and one MA-60.